There’s something impossibly adorable about little puppies who have yet to grow into all of their various parts. Their heads are just a bit too big for their bodies and their feet look like they belong on another dog entirely. Of course, we humans develop in a similar fashion, albeit a bit slower. The school photos of my adolescence are frightfully awkward. But in these photos, I’m always sitting there with huge smile on my face, blissfully unaware that I’m only half-baked and have quite of bit of growing up still left to do. I’ve only seen these photos at my mother’s house, as I didn’t collect or save any of them. They’re fun to see, though, and a wonderful reminder that no matter what life might do to me in the moment, the best thing that it offers is change. As I continue to sketch and paint each day, I find myself trying some new things and not always leaning into the tried and true. As an artist, I’m only three years young and, well, I’ve still got a lot of growing up to do. And just like that boy in those horrible school photos, I’ll always show up with a smile.
Though I’m sure some insanely talented artists pick up a pen or brush and immediately start making the most incredible things, this hasn’t always been me. I’ve found that diligent practice is my own best approach. My favorite doodlewashes on this site are often the ones that are a bit botched. The ones that didn’t quite live up to the image that I had in my head. These, like those horrible school pictures during adolescence are very dear to me. I posted them anyway, smiling and happy that I was able to make something that day. I didn’t worry that it wasn’t the best version of me, because I knew it was still an important piece of who I really am, and another step in my art journey. No matter what we sketch, paint, and post, it’s always a bit of a self-portrait. The lines and colors betray how we were feeling that day. Sure, some choose to self-edit and show only the very best work, but I’ve always taken a different path. I’ve instead, invited everyone on my art journey along with me to view it as it happens in real time. That’s why my posts appear in the evening, but the exact timing is often rather tough to set a watch by.
Truly, the way social media works today, it would behoove me to schedule posts and ensure they appear like clockwork and only at “optimal” times of day. This will always ensure more likes and more readers, if that’s your goal. I would adore more people discovering my humble little posts, but I equally adore that they’ve always been organic. So, I do things perfectly incorrectly when it comes to the rules, but I’ve always stayed true to what feels right for me. I’m still that gangly adolescent artist who simply wants to make something each and every day and that feels really good. I’m sure that odd looking little boy in those class photos would be proud of me. He would sometimes worry about what other people would think, but mostly, he was far too busy living and enjoying life to ever really stop and notice. So, the real reason I enjoy looking at those old photos is because that boy is now by hero. Instead of viewing him as a phase I thankfully grew out of, I see him as the purest version of who I still am today. A boy who skips his way through life, striving to make good things happen, while doing it all with a perpetual smile, even through those awkward stages.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!